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Smith & Beck "Milk Box Microscope"

Originally described by Richard Beck in his book A Treatise written in 1865, this microscope is also reviewed in Gerard Turner's book The Great Age of the Microscope. The microscope was a low-end model (also known as The Educational Microscope) made by the firm of Smith & Beck during the mid 1860s. By 1865, the microscope was eclipsed by a binocular version known as The Popular Microscope.

The brass body tube fits into a cylindrical housing attached to the main pillar and is focused on the specimen by sliding in and out. A knurled knob at the base of the pillar serves as a fine focus mechanism. The base is a wooden board supporting dual brass trunnions that attach to the side pillar. Several wooden accessory holders are also present on the microscope base, although no spare objectives or eyepieces remain with the model owned by the Royal Microscopical Society. A mahogany box is used to store the microscope, which can be folded down on its base for insertion into a side of the storage box. A single eyepiece and objective are used to examine specimens placed on the small rectangular stage. Illumination is assisted by a single mirror mounted with a gimbal beneath the stage.


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